Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Offseason To-Do List

01. Re-sign Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not quite sure what the Yankees can really expect out of Jeter. 2008 and 2010 certainly look like something of a decline, but I'm not quite sure that 2009 is a complete outlier. I'm hopeful that the Yankees won't break the bank here, but I do recognize Jeter's off the field value to the franchise, as well as the fact that it'd be damn near impossible to replace him on the field. Even in a down year, Jeter ranked tenth among shortstops in WAR, and eighth in wOBA. Rivera remains the among the very best in the business, and I'd like to see the Yankees go year-to-year - and I'd be comfortable with a two-year deal, as well.

02. Sort out the starting rotation.
Sabathia, Hughes, and, sadly, Burnett are locks for the rotation. Should Pettitte decide he'd like to pitch another year, I'm sure the Yankees would accommodate him, as would I. My main issue here is that I don't think that it's as simple as finding a fifth starter. With Sabathia's knee surgery, Hughes' inexperience, Burnett's ineptitude, and Pettitte's age and injury issues, I'm not quite sure that I'd be comfortable without another battle-tested starter. As fantastic as Cliff Lee is, I'm not sure he's the answer - I don't trust a balky-backed 30-something to live up to a long-term, high-cost deal. I'd like to see the Yankees scour the market for an arbitration-eligible that may be too pricey for their current team - Wandy Rodriguez, Ricky Nolasco, Chad Billingsley, Shaun Marcum, and John Danks have been mentioned here.

03. Don't hesitate to deal Joba Chamberlain or Brett Gardner
Chamberlain appears to be the very definition of a player needing a change of scenery. As it stands, the Yankees appear dead-set on using him as a reliever and, while his stock may not be terribly high right now, it will only get lower as he garners arbitration raises and grows accustomed to relieving. While Gardner was a revelation in 2010, I suspect that he's likely to have peaked. His base-stealing instincts and reads are questionable, he's very inconsistent, and he can be beaten by a pitcher that's willing to throw strikes. I'm not suggesting that the Yankees deal either for table scraps, but I would hope that Cashman would be open to using either (or both) in the right deal.

04. Bring Leo Mazzone on-board
Mazzone's body of work took an apparent hit when the Orioles staff struggled under his watch, but I'm confident that he could work wonders with the talent the Yankees have on-hand. He has a good reputation as a player's coach, a track record of success, and a desire to come to New York ... and the Yankees wouldn't have to hurt their farm system to hire him, as opposed to promoting Nardi Contreras.

05. Solidify the bench and bullpen
I combine the two as both should be done rather cheaply. Bring back Thames, find a competent fourth outfielder for defensive purposes (Golson works, I suppose), and sort out the utility infielder spot (I prefer Nunez to Pena). A lefty off the bench could work, as well, but they seem harder to find, as most teams can offer more time to such a player. With the bullpen, I'd like to see another lefty. From there, I'm comfortable with working from within the organization. Rivera, Chamberlain, Robertson, Logan, pray for health from Aceves, then filler. Wood is likely to be too pricey, but I'd like to see him back for the right price.

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